@JersVision #weareALLclean

This World AIDS Day 2014 JersVision.org team is excited to participate in the #weareALLclean Shower Selfie Campaign which aims to Eliminate HIV Stigma.

The movement was started by Jack Mackenroth who works for non-profit organisation Housing Works, in which aims to fight HIV/AIDS related homelessness New York. The idea behind the moment is that alongside uploading your photos, you also make a donation to a suitable charity. Read more at Huffington Post.  

“HIV stigma” refers to the HIV-related shame, fear, prejudice, discrimination, guilt, and lack of knowledge that exist in the world at large. It affects the health and well-being of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative individuals. The campaign attempts to tackle the use of the word “clean” when referring to a negative HIV status, or combining drug use with HIV status. This implies that HIV-positive people are dirty. We hope this campaign goes about bringing Positive and Negative together to form one “Neutral” community, free of judgement and stigma, and working together to lower the HIV infection rate.

I have worked with the JersVision.org team as the Educator Training Coordinator and I have explored how to navigate a variety of issues related to HIV/AIDS and education. I take pride in getting tested regularly and have learned from a variety of partner organizations like as the AIDS Committee of Ottawa and Planned Parenthood.

Recent research suggests about 1 out of every 4 people living with HIV in Canada don’t know they are infected. Since it is possible to live for many years with HIV without experiencing symptoms, many people do not seek testing. This means people may be unknowingly transmitting HIV. Fear of stigma and discrimination is the main reason why people are reluctant to be tested, to disclose their HIV status or to take antiretroviral drugs. HIV/AIDS-related stigma has had a profound effect on the epidemic’s discourse and we believe this can be eradicated through education.

At Jer’s Vision, we are advocates for the elimination of stigma and discrimination against key affected populations; through promoting policy and legal reform to ensure universal access to HIV services. And we also provides a voice for and raises the concerns of key affected populations  at the most visible and influential nation-wide forums like “The Canadian Youth Forum and Conversation on Sexually Transmitted & Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs)” which runs from December 2nd-6th.  It is also the beginning of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week. It’s so important to begin a conversation on Sexually and Blood-Borne Infections and how it impacts key affected populations.

Have a great week,

David MacMillan
Educator Training Coodinator